Addressing the Female Libido
Is your sex drive stalled out? Or is it in hyperdrive? Studies show that a significant amount of women have a lower than desired level of libido. Movies, TV shows, and social media portray energetic, powerful, and beautiful women having amazing sexual energy. But let’s face it, like anything else on the big screen or Instagram, things are often exaggerated or untrue. Before you get too overwhelmed, lets learn a little about what is going on.
Sexual problems are very common in woman of all ages. Up to 40 percent of women report concerns to their doctors and therapists. This percentage is likely even higher due to under reporting for fear of embarrassment and lack of social acceptance. The clinical term for these sexual problems is “female sexual dysfunction”. Here I will discuss some clinical observations, explanations, and treatments for low female libido.
First, we must understand the different types of problems that exist so that we can identify them in ourselves. These can include lack of sexual desire, impaired arousal, inability to achieve orgasm, and pain with sexual activity. There may also be a combination of problems happening at the same time. Once we have identified the problem, we must set realistic goals for treatment. A good goal might be to return to a baseline level of desire that was present at an earlier time in life.
After determining the cause of the disorder with your health care provider, treatment options can be initiated. These usually take a multidisciplinary and multimodal approach that can include counseling (couples or individual) or a combination of psychotherapy and pharmacology. Lifestyle changes are encouraged first for problems related to low sexual desire. Fatigue, stress, and lack of privacy can play a large role. Reducing stress at work and home is easier said than done but can truly be a game changer. Delegating household chores, exercising (yoga) to improve body image, and engaging in relaxation techniques are a good start. Studies also show that reading books about sexual desire, visiting “specialty stores”, and expanding your usual sexual repertoire can effectively increase libido and response.
If your decreased sexual desire is due to pain, pelvic floor physical therapy may be an excellent option after pathological conditions such as ovarian cysts, endometriosis, bladder, and bowel problems are ruled out by your doctor. Vaginal conditions such as vaginismus are rare but treatable through your gynecologist.
Understanding sexual interest and arousal problems can be confusing for a woman and her health care provider. It has been found that sexual interest typically decreases with relationship duration. Here are some hints on how to improve things:
- Spend a night away from home together. Date nights often improve sexual satisfaction. It has been shown that couples that enjoy time together outside the bedroom often have more fun in the bedroom.
- Try new positions.
- Incorporate devices or “warming lubricants.”
- Try an unusual time of the day to be intimate.
In my practice, I often get questions about checking hormone levels and treatment with testosterone supplements. What I tell my patients is that testosterone and estrogen levels in your body do not and cannot predict sexual function. Studies have shown that increasing levels of testosterone may increase desire in postmenopausal woman, but this is not advised. Some side effects include facial hair growth, deepening of the voice, acne, male pattern baldness, abnormal uterine bleeding, and breast cancer. Research shows that it increased the frequency of desire by 1.9% compared to the placebo. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve androgen use for sexual dysfunction. Other drugs include synthetic steroids, serotonergic, and dopaminergic agents such as fibaserin, bupropion, and buspiron.
To find out more about treatment for low libido, call your gynecologist or family doctor and have a complete physical.
National GO RED for Women’s Day-Join Us on February 1st!!!
The American Heart Association’s signature women’s initiative, Go Red for Women, is a comprehensive platform designed to increase women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for change to improve the lives of women globally.
It’s no longer just about wearing red; it’s no longer just about sharing heart health facts. It’s about all women making a commitment to stand together with Go Red and taking charge of their own heart health as well as the health of those they can’t bear to live without. Making a commitment to your health isn’t something you have to do alone either, so grab a friend or a family member and make a Go Red Healthy Behavior Commitment today. For additional information and ways to get involved with this cause please go to www.goredforwomen.org.
Millions of Americans will be lining up to buy their lovers chocolate covered strawberries and bouquets of roses this Valentine’s Day. But have you ever wondered how this day dedicated to love came to be?
- Valentine’s Day started with the Romans.
- Passing out Valentines is a 600-year-old tradition.
- Candy hearts were originally medical lozenges.
- Americans spend a lot on love. ($19.6 Billion in 2018!!)
- The chocolate box has been around for more than 140 years.
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